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Everything is relative. It’s just as hard to write a good short story as it is to write a good novel. It’s harder, also, to write a bad novel than it is to write a bad short story. (More pages, more time.) Hardest of all, though, is a good collection of short stories. On the phone with Rion Amilcar Scott, I compared it to hitting ten grand slams in a row. It’s hyperbolic, sure,...
Across three novels, a memoir, and now, a short story collection, Donald Antrim has proven himself to be the most acute chronicler of anxiety writing today. Antrim’s characters— including his own exacting self-portrait in The Afterlife—live on the verge of nervous collapse. The archetypal Antrim set piece involves a steep escalation of panic and despair in the face of a quotidian task: In his novel The Verificationist, the narrator’s inability to decide what to...
May is National Short Story Month, but—oh no! May is almost over, which means you've got very little time to read really, really good short stories. Seriously. It doesn't count unless it's in May. HURRY! We kid, of course. A great short story is timeless and should be read any month of the year, and in particular today, because today is grey and gross and what's the point of doing anything else, really? Here, we've...

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